the seinfeld of blogs

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

beware the end of march, or, how i learned to stop worrying and love the moment

some things you go your whole life hearing about so often that you think you know all about them, but you don't really "know" them until you've experienced them firsthand - you know? like getting your heart broken, or having sex, or getting high, or (i'm assuming) childbirth. like overhearing a dirty joke when you're too young to know it's dirty and you ask your parents what it means and they don't really give you a straight answer and you all but forget about it until one day in middle school when you suddenly remember the joke and go "ohhh, NOW i get it."

saturday last, i packed up my worldy possessions for the umpteenth time and dashed off to new york city. i'm still here, i'm employed, and i'm not homeless, so it's going well. this morning i hopped a bus from phil's place on the ues and rode it downtown to this little cafe i've been in love with since september '07; successfully completed my first ever sudoku puzzle over coffee and a bagel. afterwards i walked up houston in the noontime sunlight and felt generally positive about life. for some reason walking up houston on a nice day always puts me in a good mood. i don't know why, it's not like there's anything that great about houston, but i can't seem to remember any time i've walked along it and not reached my destination all blissed out.

i think each generation ends up being retrospectively defined by its recreational drug use. which is why kids who do drugs always kind of look down on the straight edge kids. it's like, guys, you're missing out. i mean if i had grown up during, say, the whole 1950s reefer madness thing, i would be much happier today knowing that i was one of the kids who experimented despite the propaganda. that's all i'm saying.

did you know there's a whole subculture of new york city youth based on really intense burn rides? god, i need to start documenting my generation.

until next time: tune in fridays at 9 on the travel channel to watch a meathead in a muscle tee hunt for ghosts. it's AWESOME.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

take my voice please do what you want with it

my friend phil calls me early one morning to ask me how you can tell if you've overdosed. he sounds like shit so i tell him that if he has to ask, he should probably go to a hospital.

"what did you do?" i ask.


"how much?"

"an eight ball. by myself."

a pause, then

"yeah, definitely go to the hospital."

another long pause. i know he doesn't want to deal with the hospital; the hospital means medical bills, it means his parents getting involved, and most importantly it means getting up and calling a cab, up for which he is definitely not at this time.

"phil?" just checking to make sure he's still with me.

"ugh, god, i don't know... i feel so shitty. what do you think i should do?"

and that's how i started making phil's decisions for him.

he was, thank goodness, fine. he did indeed go to the hospital, where he spent a day and a night of which he has basically no memory. i saw him a couple days later and we spent a great day wandering new york city trying to get free food. that was the same day we ended up sitting on a bench in a dog park in chelsea, next to idina menzel and taye diggs. but i digress.

phil is an actor and a singer. he's also a student, and a pothead, and not to sound sappy, but one of the kindest souls i've ever met. it's easy to miss, buried as it is under all of his bad habits, but i don't think the guy has a malevolent bone in his body.

i remember one time when we were at the arts academy we both attended throughout high school. class was out, but phil and myself and a handful of other kids were in the academy's yearly opera, and we had gone up the street to grab some food before rehearsal. we were all hanging out outside the theater when this older woman came up to us. the academy is sort of in the inner city and we were used to having an eye out for crazies, and this lady definitely fit the bill; dirty clothes, unstable expression. she asked us, half-pleading, if anyone had a dollar - she said she was lost, didn't have enough for the bus, wasn't sure which bus to take even if she had... she seemed on the edge of a breakdown. ourselves being little sheltered high school kids, we mostly looked away and muttered awkward excuses; except for phil.

"hang on one second," he said to her. "wait right there."

i watched as he went inside and quickly took up a collection. he returned with a few dollars, enough for the bus, and a teacher who was able to give the lady directions. she was so, so grateful and so obviously, incredibly relieved that someone had helped her. phil just told her not to worry about it and made sure she was okay before heading in to rehearsal. i think the rest of us, deservedly, all felt like assholes.

phil and i were friends at the academy, but we didn't really get close until a couple years after graduation. we both moved to new york city right away, but even then we rarely hung out; in fact, we'd seen each other maybe once or twice between high school and the OD incident. after that he kind of fell off the planet for a while and he told me later that he'd dropped everything and gone to florida without notice. and then one night, while i was living upstate, i called him from the bus on the way to the port authority, and he picked up. he was back in new york city and we had a lot of catching up to do.

after that visit, we started calling each other whenever we were bored. i came to hang out with him when i could, but usually he was a voice over the phone, talking about drugs and auditions and his dickish roommate. a lot of the time he was stoned, talking to me as he roamed the upper east side in search of food, and he could never decide what to get. it became a running gag that he always wanted me to decide for him. "ugh, i don't know... what do you think i should do?" and he'd just keep asking until i told him to get chinese, or mcdonalds, or subway. always something fast and cheap.

i don't really know where i'm going with this. i guess it's just a tribute to phil. i haven't even scratched the surface of half of the crazy shit he's been through, of course, but believe me when i say that the dude has lived. he's very talented and someday he'll get the fame and fortune he deserves, but when i think of him my first thought will always be of a groggy voice through a phone - "ugh, i don't know... what do you think i should do?"